The Muslim Belief in
Ibrahim B. Syed,
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA
Iman (faith) is to proclaim the
Kalimah (principle) with the tongue and affirm its truth with the
heart. In the Kalimah one has to bear/witness to the truth in the
following words: "I bear witness that there is no god (deity) but Allah and I
bear witness that Muhammad is the Servant and Apostle of Allah." By proclaiming
this Kalimah one implicitly believes in the following Articles of
Existence and Attributes of
- Destiny or Measure (Taqdir)
- Revealed Books
- The Hereafter
Iman is the basis of acts of
worship and righteous deeds in Islam.
One of the names and attributes
of Allah is Al Haqq (The Truth). In reading and understanding the
Qur'an, a Muslim man or a Muslim woman is seeking the truth. Muslims say Islam
is the religion of Truth. As defined above our Iman (faith) is affirmation of
the truths and not blind beliefs.
There are religions whose
followers believe the idols to be gods or Jesus to be Son of God. There are
people who worship fire as god or natural entities or forces as gods. There are
people who even worship Satan. One can have belief or faith in anything. So what
is the difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. As pointed out before,
the-Muslim's Iman is affirmation of the truth. In Dawah work a Muslim may
encounter the challenge in the Article of Faith in "Angels." In other words a
Muslim has to answer the question "Do Angels exist?" and what is the truth?
Belief in the Angels
The Muslims conceptualize angels
according to Western ideas as an anthropomorphic (human-like appearance), female
in sex, white in color, having two white wings and a halo above the head. In
Islam this is a false representation of the angels.
From the Qur'an we know that
human beings are made from clay and the Jinns are made of smokeless fire. The
angels have no gender (neither male nor female).
All life on earth is made of
Carbon and water. Living things on earth need energy for their activities. Some
of these activities are chemical reactions, which need a supply of energy. This
supply of energy comes from the foods we eat, particularly the sugars. Fat is
also a source of (stored) energy. When sugars (glucose) are oxidized by
metabolism with oxygen they are converted into water, carbon dioxide and energy.
This process is called respiration. Life as we know on earth consists of cells,
etc., based on Carbon and chemical reactions and cannot be applied- to life and
creatures based on physical reactions found on earth and elsewhere. For example,
the author has shown that the Jinns have a more complex basis for their life
involving electrical charges as well as magnetic forces. The positive and
negative ions interact and respond to the presence of magnetic forces which in
turn affect the stable structure and movement of the Jinns: This situation is
similar to the influence of proteins and nucleic acids in earthly life.
Hadith and Qur'an
In order to explain the existence
of the angels, one must know the nature of the angels. From the Hadith we get
the following information:
The angels are created from
light' and are invisible.
2. They do not have any
free will or an independent will to act on their own. That is they have only a
one-dimensional nature, something like a programmed robot
3. They carry out without
question all the Commands (laws) of Allah and do not oppose or neglect them in
Like everything in the
Universe, day and night they are engaged in praising and glorifying Allah
and are never tired of this.
They carry out their
functions honestly, efficiently and responsibly and are never guilty of
6. The number of angels
is only known to Allah, however four of them are well known: Gabriel (conveys
Allah's revelations and messages to the Prophets); Israfil (by
Allah's Command will blow into the Trumpet on the Day of Resurrection); Michael
(arranges for rainfall and supply of provisions to the creatures' of Allah, with
His Command); and Izrail (takes people's souls at the time of death).
7. Two angels, called 'Munkar'
and 'Nakir' arc sent to the graves to question a person after his/her death.
The Qur'an says:
These angels are called the Noble
Scribes (Karamun, Katibun). LXXXII: 10-12
And if it were
Our Will We could make
From amongst you,
Each other on the earth
In explaining this Ayah one of
the scholars says that the angels are created without a father or a mother and
that they do not eat and drink. That is they do not have any emotions including
passion and they are devoid of instincts (biological urges). They cannot commit
sin nor disobey.
Man is superior to the angels
because he has a two-dimensional nature. Firstly, he is endowed with an immortal
spirit, which is breathed into him by Allah. Secondly, he is endowed with the
faculty of reason and an independent will of his own (free will) so that he can
obey or disobey Allah's Commandments and choose his own way freely. Unlike the
angels, man has a gender (sex), instincts and biological urges.
The author believes there is
nothing wrong in attempting to understand or to interpret the concept of angels
in the light of modern knowledge. After all, Muslims and scientists are seekers
of the truth and truth is the same in either domain. Some Ulema or Islamic
scholars have come very close to explaining the angels in terms of scientific
terminology and have given the analogy of radio-waves, cinematography and the
recordings of audio and video images on video-cassettes. It is the intention of
the author to make efforts in better understanding and in conceptualization of
angels, which are created by Allah in terms of nature, natural laws and natural
forces, which are also created by Allah.
Angels can be interpreted as
Messengers or Instruments of Allah's Will, and may have a few or numerous
errands entrusted to them.
The scientific concept which very
closely describes the angels is the electromagnetic force (electromagnetic
radiation). If angels are made of light then light is made of electromagnetic
radiation, which travels at 186,000 miles per second. Like angels
electromagnetic force obeys the laws of nature incessantly without mistake and
has. No free will or an independent will of its own. Hence it has a
one-dimensional nature like angels. Electromagnetic radiation has no gender, no
emotions including passions and has no instincts or biological urges. It is
invisible except in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum (4,000 to
7,000 Angstroms wavelength).
The Qur'an mentions that angels
came in -the form of humans to Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Lot and the Hadith
mentions about angel Gabriel talking to Prophet Muhammad " " in the form of
human being. This is also not difficult to understand because we can create
Holographic images, which are three-dimensional human figures that can talk
using laser light and white light (visible light). Again, laser light and white
light are electromagnetic radiation. Communication is possible by means of radio
waves or microwaves, which are also electromagnetic radiation.
The four angels can be explained
in terms of the four forces that exist in nature. These four obey the laws of
Allah incessantly without any mistake, without any disobedience. These four
forces are the Gravitational Force, Electromagnetic Force, Weak Force, and the
Strong or Nuclear Force.
PS The ideas, opinions
and theories expounded by the author in this article may be proven wrong
in the light of new knowledge available in the future and the author
takes full responsibility for it. There is nothing wrong in expounding
one's ideas; today which may be proven inappropriate or obsolete in the
future. One can witness this in the study of great scientists, both
Muslim and non-Muslim, such as lbn Sina, Al-Razi, Al-Biruni, etc. and
the giants of the Western civilization such as Plato, Aristotle, Sir
Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, etc.